Boyfriend Socks, and Flaming Socks of Doom

A few weeks ago, P. and I had just come home from a long, lovely walk enjoying the spring greenery, and as we plopped down on the couch feeling pleased with ourselves, I pulled on a pair of handknit socks. I basked in their lovely softness, their perfect fit, and the proud feeling of having knitted the article of clothing that was exactly what I wanted at that moment — and I suddenly had an epiphany: I should knit P. some socks, so he could feel this too. (Well, instead of pride in the accomplishment of knitting, I suppose he could feel pride in having selected such a talented girlfriend. Or, you know, love and appreciation or something.)

In southern California, it’s pretty hard to knit for boyfriends. You can’t make them hats or scarves or mittens, because they’d never wear them, and despite the chilly evenings you can’t make them sweaters because of the curse. I offered to knit P. a vest recently, and he was not interested. But socks! Who doesn’t love a snuggly-warm pair of socks? I treat my hand-knit socks more or less like slippers — I fear shoving them into shoes, and my Birkenstock-and-flip-flop California lifestyle doesn’t permit me to wear socks with shoes very often, anyway. But my circulation is pretty poor, so I wear socks or slippers in the house for at least half the year to warm my little tootsies.

Before the evening was over, and without even checking Ravelry and obsessing over possibilities, I knew which socks I would be knitting for P. — Anne Hanson’s Lacunae Socks. I’d had my eye on them since she posted the pattern a few months earlier, and I figured that P. needed socks with some kind of all-over ribbing because his feet are very wide — so if a sock was going to be wide enough for his feet, it needed to be able to contract around his not-so-wide leg so as to not fall down. And they came out great!


The yarn is Schaefer Anne, in some hand-dyed gray-blue colorway that I’ve lost the name of. It seemed pretty skinny for sock yarn, but it worked out well on US 1 needles. It’s got a little mohair in it, which gives it some nice fuzzy softness. The pattern is very nice, though it did get a little boring after awhile. When I knit socks for myself, I’m usually knitting a size small, but P.’s wide feet demand the XL — which means that socks for him are not quite the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am projects that I’m used to them being.

That said, I am also working verrrrry slowly on a pair of socks for myself that I have named the Flaming Socks of Doom:


These are yet another Anne Hanson pattern, her Woodsmoke Socks, and the yarn is Fearless Fibers Tight Twist Superwash Merino in the “Flame ” colorway. These socks are shaping up to be both gorgeous and outrageous, which I’m very pleased about, but those lovely mock-cables are the result of what is by FAR the most complicated chart I have ever attempted to follow. I basically can’t work on them in front of the television, which means I basically never work on them. The progress you see here was made almost entirely in the car (when it wasn’t my turn to drive) on our spring break trip to San Francisco, while we listened to 10+ hours of a biography of the Beatles that started from each of their individual births and followed them through the break-up of the band. I’ve gotten through turning the heel, and now that I’m about to be in gusset-town I’m excited about only having to do the cable pattern on half the stitches, and yet I still predict that it will take me roughly six million years to finish them.

2 thoughts on “Boyfriend Socks, and Flaming Socks of Doom

  1. I just finished off the first sock of a pair of Woodsmokes that I’m working on myself! I also found myself having to keep an eye carefully on the chart in the beginning, but then the pattern clicked after a couple of repeats when I had a little epiphany.

    It suddenly clicked for me that the rows in the chart causing me most glancing and double-checking are the ones where there is a stretch of K1, P1, K1, P1 in the chart and you find yourself losing track of how many you’ve done. Well, my epiphany was that if you look at the row below, you can easily find a “milestone” stitch so you don’t have to count.

    So for example, look at Row 12 of the chart and then at Row 11. As you’re moving through Row 12, rather than trying to keep track of the K1, P1 activity, just push forward until you reach the “milestone” stitch of the YO from the row beneath. You’ll see there in Row 12 that that corresponds to where you begin the central garter section. Most of the most eyestraining rows in the chart seem to have these kind of milestones on the rows beneath.

    Sounds like a minor thing, but once I started thinking of the chart in that way, I motored along just fine and cranked out the rest of the sock in short order.

    Your Flaming Socks of Doom are going to be lovely!

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